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What Should I Do If I Am Arrested?

By Jody Ehrhardt

While no one ever plans on being arrested, it is a good idea to know what you should and shouldn't do in case it ever happens. By understanding what is expected of you and what circumstance can make your situation worse, you will be better able to handle the distress and fear that comes with being arrested.

First of all, there are certain things that you should do if you ever find yourself in this scary situation. Do attempt to stay calm and try to only speak to the police officer in a respectful, polite manner and tone of voice. By staying calm you will be better able to assess the situation for what it really is and better able to recall all of the details of your arrest later for your attorney. By being polite and respectful you will cut down on the chances that the arresting officers will become angry or aggressive, which could lead to your being injured or harmed.

Do give the basic information that the officers are asking for without being surly or rude. This information includes your name, address, and telephone number, the name of an immediate family member and their phone number and the name of the place of your employment. Not only do the police officers need this information to file the forms of your arrest, they will also need it when setting your bail.

Do exercise your right to remain silent. You are not required by law to answer any questions that could incriminate you and you do not have to speak to the police, district attorney or anyone unless you are in the presence of your lawyer. If the police continue to ask you questions or harass you for answers, you should simply keep repeating the phrase, "I wish to speak to my attorney".

Do exercise your right to make one phone call. This call should probably go to your lawyer but in a case where you do not have a lawyer, you should call a close family member and instruct them to obtain legal counsel for you as soon as possible.

Do attempt to get the names and badge numbers of the police officers that arrest you. You have a right to this information but for various reasons, some officers may attempt not to disclose this information to you.

There are also a number of things that you should not do if you ever find yourself under arrest.

Do not resist arrest. Even if you believe that the charges held against you are false, insisting on your innocence at this point will not help you or stop the arrest. Wait until you are taken to the police station and allowed to call an attorney. Once your attorney arrives, speak through him or her to defend you innocence.

Do not act in an aggressive manner or yell out threats about filing harassment complaints. Aggressive behavior will only cause the police officers to try to restrain you and your bad behavior could be held against you later when you are trying to fight the charges in court.

Do not complain when the police officers handcuff, search, fingerprint or photograph you. All of these processes are a normal result of being arrested. Go through the process with as much cooperation with possible.

While being arrested will never be a pleasant experience, the way you act and the things you choose to do and not do while going through the process can go a long way toward easing the pain, inconvenience and humiliation of the experience.

Licensing Your Copyrighted Material

By Richard A. Chapo

If you’ve taken the necessary steps to register your copyrighted works, you inevitably will have an opportunity to royalties off of them. To take advantage of the opportunity, you will need to be familiar with copyright license agreements.

Copyright License Agreement

A copyright license agreement sets for the terms under which a third party can use your content. In legal language, you will the “licensor” with the other party being the “licensee.” The purpose of the agreement is to set forth the terms under which you, the licensor, will grant the third party, licensee, the right to use, publish or reuse your copyrighted work in exchange for a royalty. Let’s take a closer look at key components of the licensing agreement.

Specific Rights Granted

This may sound obvious, but the agreement needs to detail exactly what copyrighted material can be used. If you have copyrighted articles, are you granting a right to use all of the articles or only certain ones? It is highly recommended that the agreement contain a detailed description of the exact materials being covered.

Once you agree upon the exact materials, you need to determine any restrictions on how the material can be used. Can the material be used on the Internet or will it be restricted to a certain niche’ such as manuals or collections of materials?

An extremely important issue is whether the agreement grants exclusive or non-exclusive rights. In English, this simply defines whether the licensor can grant similar rights to other parties. The grant of exclusive licenses should require a much larger royalty rate since you are essentially betting the third party will be successful.

Licensing Royalties

In exchange for your copyrighted work, the third party is going to make royalty payments to you. The particular amount of the royalty is dependent upon the nature of your work. Issues to consider include:

1) Will you be paid a flat amount or percentage of sales?
2) If a percentage, will it be figured from gross revenues or something less?
3) How often will you be paid?
4) What rights will you have to audit the books of the third party to determine you are getting the full royalty?

In some situations, you may decide to forgo a royalty payment. This usually occurs when the third party will use the materials in manner that produces massive publicity for you. For example, many professionals seek to right columns for publications as a marketing tool. Often, they will not charge the publication for the material because the resulting publicity carries enough of a benefit.

In Closing

If you are considering licensing copyrighted content, keep the above in mind. Since such agreements are difficult to break, hiring an attorney is worth the expense.

About the author:
Richard Chapo is with - providing San Diego businesses with legal services. This article is for general education purposes. Nothing in this article creates an attorney-client relationship.

How Important is Your Social Security Number?

By Jinky C. Mesias

Social Security is providing each member with individual Social Security Number. The rationale behind the issuing of Social Security Number is to facilitate the processing of claims and benefits. Each Social Security member is provided with a unique number different from everyone else this means no two members would have the same number account. The Social Security Number identifies the Social Security Account of each of the member.

Social Security makes use of these accounts in maintaining all the records of each of their members. And also the earnings as well as the benefits are verified by accounts contained under the Social Security records.

The Social Security number is also very useful when applying for a job. Employers make use of the social security numbers of their employees to pay for their contributions. Moreover, Social Security numbers are also used by most financial institutions in recording the amount of interest that Social Security members have earned from them. Even the Internal Revenue makes use of the Social Security Number in determining the amount of tax a Social Security member needs to pay. The members Social Security accounts provide basis for both government as well as private businesses when they are in search for information regarding their employees. Nevertheless, all the information contained in the Social Security Account of each member is not released without any consent from the concerned member but unless the law permits the discharge of any information then and only then can information be released. All information contained in the Social Security member’s accounts is confidential.

Each member is mandated by the Social Security to get a Social Security Number. However, for those members who lost their social security card and may want to apply for another card they can call the Social Security hotline in their area or they may visit the Social Security Office for instructions. The usual requirement for lost Social Security card is an affidavit of loss duly notarized by an attorney. Also satisfactory proof of identification is required. For members who may want to have their name changed or their status changed, they may bring their birth certificate while a marriage contract or annulment or divorce court ruling is required for those who want to have their status changed. Likewise, for members who may want to add beneficiaries, they can call the Social Security Office for documents that are required for them to submit. And please be reminded that only certified copies of pertinent documents are required.

About the author:
Jinky C. Mesias is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Business Administration Major in Business Management. She is at present an Associate Manager of a Life Insurance Corporation and a freelance writer.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

By Steve Austin

Declaration Of Purpose:

An abundant evidence of the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair credit collection practices by many debt collectors led to the declaration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The purpose of the Act, approved in September 1977, was to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors and to promote consistent state action to protect consumers against debt collection abuses and invasions of individual privacy.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act laid down specific guidelines pertaining to the following procedures:

1. Acquisition Of Information [Sec 804]
Any debt collector seeking to acquire location information of a consumer would identify himself and his purpose correctly and if the need arises also disclose his employer. At no point during the inquiry process shall the collector state or imply that a consumer owes any debt, as this shall amount to invasion of individual privacy. Once the enquiry process has been completed, any correspondence thereafter shall be with the attorney of the said consumer only.

2. Communication With the Consumer [Sec 805]
The debt collector may not communicate with the consumer at any such place or time, which may be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. If the collector has information that an attorney represents the consumer, then any communication with the consumer should be done only if the attorney fails to respond to the collector's communication.

3. Abuse Or Harassment Of The Consumer [Sec 806]
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. A collector may not resort to acts of violence or threats thereof in order to coerce the consumer into obliging to the collector.

4. Misrepresentation For Debt Collection [Sec 807]
A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. The debt collector may not represent or in any way implicate that nonpayment of the debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, attachment or sale of any property of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action.

5. Debt Validation [Sec 809]
Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer, the debt collector shall send the consumer a written notice containing the exact amount of debt, the name of the creditor and the due date of payment.

6. Civil Liability [Sec 813]
Any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this act is liable to such person in an amount equal to the extent of actual damage to the consumer and may be liable to pay the consumer the defendant attorney's fees reasonable in relation to the work expended and costs.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides guidelines for all kinds of debt collection. For all debt collectors, be in-house or collection agencies, it is must to understand the act and stay within the legally permitted boundaries. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has enough provisions for collection agencies and departments to help them get the dues from the debtors legally.

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The job of a divorce attorney

By Michael Sanford

Marriage is a very solemn and serious chapter on any person's life. However, due to personal reasons, a couple may decide to call everything off and file a divorce. Divorce, or dissolution, as it is increasingly becoming known, is a process that legally terminates a marriage no longer considered viable by one or both of the spouses, and that permits both to remarry. All options for reconciliation are taken before a decision is made to go to a divorce attorney. But when everything fails, the divorce attorney takes over and the legal process of divorce takes place.

How is divorce different than annulment? As any divorce attorney will explain, annulment voids the supposed marriage. This means there is not marriage to begin with. A voidable marriage occurs when some defect exists in the contractual agreement in which all marriages originate, as defined by a divorce attorney. These include marriages of the underage or the insane, or a marriage procured by fraud. Sexual impotency existing at the time of marriage also gives grounds for annulment according to any divorce attorney.

Divorce, however, recognizes the existence of the marriage and dissolves it on the given grounds, which are contested by the divorce attorney. Grounds for divorce are adultery, unreasonable behavior, or a lengthy time apart. Once the case is file, it is the divorce attorney's job to confirm the complaint and proceed to the divorce court hearing.

What takes up most of the time of a divorce attorney is the distribution of conjugal property. In "community property" states, the courts recognize both spouses as owning a 50 percent interest in any assets acquired during the marriage (except for items obtained as gifts or inheritance.), which will need to be divided between the two persons and enforced by the divorce attorney. Likewise, debts are the responsibility of both parties. In a divorce action one spouse, usually the wife, may be granted alimony or maintenance payments generally for a limited period of time. Often a court will order the transfer of property, such as the matrimonial home, from one party to the other on divorce; this is particularly common where there are children from the marriage who are of school age. The custody of any children may be awarded to either spouse, with an arrangement made for visiting rights and support of the children by the divorce attorney. At present, joint-custody arrangements are being worked out more and more frequently by divorcing parents rather than in a court and the divorce attorney.

During all of this process, the divorce attorney becomes the legal representative of the husband or wife in court. All meetings or agreements should be made with their divorce attorney present at all times. This lessens the possibility of violence, especially when the grounds of the divorce are adultery. The divorce attorney keeps the parties civilized and help quicken the process even more. The divorce attorney should not be seen as the villain during such procedures because it is their job to work as mediators.

A divorce attorney's work is not done until the assets and liabilities of both parties have been resolved. This includes overseeing the enforcement of the court's ruling on the division of assets, visiting rights and custody for the children. With the time spent on each case, a divorce attorney must maintain composure despite his or her views on marriage. There is a possibility that a divorce attorney can lose his or her faith in the institution of marriage after a while.

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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Myths

By Steve Austin

Think you’ve got the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) figured out? Don’t be so sure. While nothing can take the place of a lawyer’s advice, if you’ve at least overcome these three biggest myths about the law, you may save yourself a lot of money and heartache.

FDCPA Myth 3: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the only law governing collections:

Fact: The FDCPA is a US federal law. Each state has additional laws that govern fair debt collection practices. Some portions of those laws may have been invalidated by the federal law. But, as a general rule, state laws are valid if they provide greater protections (or restrictions, depending on your point of view), and invalid if they allow debt collectors too much leeway. Meanwhile, other countries have their own laws, which may or may not apply if the collector or debtor is currently located outside the US.

Reality: it is important to keep in mind all the relevant state laws. Those state laws may include the laws of up to three or even more states: the debtor’s current state of residence, business, and/or work; the debt collector’s state; and the state of any outside collection agency. The multiplicity of laws is just one reason why lawyers are so often brought into the collections process, especially when the amounts are large.

Debt collections that cross national borders are notoriously complicated, whether it’s a US collector seeking payment from a foreign national or vice versa. That’s just one reason that businesses that have a large customer base in another country will often open a branch office there.

FDCPA Myth 2: if a collector violates fair debt collection practices, the debt is thrown out:

Fact: it’s true that unfair debt collection practices will likely cost the collector the judge’s sympathy if the collections go to court. But the Act does not say that the debt itself will necessarily be invalidated.

That may be why some unscrupulous collectors still violate the law. Of course, as already noted, breaking the law is not a good idea, since the collectors will lose much if not all of whatever moral standing they might have had. Besides, who wants to be sued for damages—especially by the person who still owes you money?

Reality: it’s in the best interest of anyone who owes money to document any FDCPA violations, and in the best interest of debt collectors to follow fair debt collection practices scrupulously.

The Number-One FDCPA Myth: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is hard to follow:

Fact: the Act’s requirements are nothing more than common sense and basic courtesy. The days of debtors’ prison or publishing debtors’ names in the newspaper are over, and threats are strictly for the mafia. Any attempt to collect a debt through humiliation or intimidation, or anything hinting at intimidation or humiliation, should be avoided.

Reality: The vast majority of violations could have been avoided if the debt collectors had simply put themselves in the other person’s shoes and thought about how they would feel if they were treated in the same way. This also means that it is not in fact easy for debtors to get out of their obligations by turning the tables on the organizations to which they owe money.

In short, we’ve come a long way since the days when debtors might have ended up in the stocks, and the FDCPA is largely to thank. But if you take fair debt collection practices lightly, you may find your troubles make a day in the stocks look pleasant.

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